It’s time to double down on solar power

More and more Americans are going solar, meeting more of our energy needs in a way that’s clean, local and independent. 

  • Solar power has tripled in the U.S. in the last two years, with another American family or business going solar every four minutes.
  • That’s in part because the price of solar has dropped more than 50 percent since 2011. 
  • The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said that “solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything ... It could double every two years.”

Who's so afraid of a little more sun?

Unfortunately, solar’s rapid growth has some dirty energy companies alarmed. Now they’re putting up new roadblocks to solar at every turn—so they can keep solar generating less than 1% of our power, even if the consequences are more pollution and more global warming.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Charles and David Koch, owners of the oil conglomerate Koch Industries, and their allies have spent heavily to impose new taxes on homeowners who go solar—in effect, penalizing those who reduce their pollution and their carbon footprint.
  • The Edison Electric Institute, which represents electric utility companies, has teamed up with the American Legislative Exchange Council to dismantle state pro-solar laws in Kansas, North Carolina and Washington State, amid others.
  • Oklahoma, Arizona and Ohio already have moved to scale back their solar programs

Fending off dirty energy attacks 

The good news? People from all walks of life are standing up for solar, from environmentalists to Tea Party activists, from solar entrepreneurs to Barry Goldwater, Jr., son of the former Republican nominee for president.

Our challenge now is to not only fend off the attacks of the dirty energy lobby, but to keep the surge in solar power growing strong.  

Our research shows that the cities and states with the most solar power aren’t just the ones with the most sunshine; they’re also states with smart pro-solar policies.

  • Arizona, Hawaii and California made the list of the top 10 states for solar in our 2014 report. But so do Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont, all thanks to smart policies.
  • The top 10 solar states, with only 26% of the nation’s population, were responsible for 89% of the nation’s solar power.
  • Our report found all or nearly all of the states shared a set of smart policies in common, from strong clean energy standards to policies that let solar homeowners sell their extra power back to the utilities.

10% percent by 2025: A bold but achievable goal

We need more pro-solar policies, not fewer. That’s why we’re our state leaders to make commitments that will help Rhode Island generate 10% of our energy from the sun by 2025. 

Our national federation is working in 14 states to set bold solar goals that together will make sure we get 10% of the nation's energy from solar by 2030. Achieving this goal would have produce immediate and long-lasting benefits, generating enough clean energy to replace half of our nation’s coal-fired power plants and more than half the energy we use today to fuel our cars. 

If we take the right steps today, even the dirty energy lobby won’t be able to stop solar power. The sky really is the limit.

 

Issue updates

News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Opportunity for takeoff in Rhode Island solar

With concern growing about Rhode Island's energy dependence on out-of-state fossil fuels––and the associated environmental and public health consequences of dirty air and global warming pollution––the Senate Committee on Environment & Agriculture held a hearing on a bill that would extend and expand Rhode Island's cornerstone renewable energy program.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Rhode Island Solar Jobs Grew 62% in 2013

An estimated 340 people in Rhode Island were employed manufacturing and installing pollution-free solar energy in 2013, according to a national Solar Jobs Census released by The Solar Foundation. This is a 62% increase from 210 jobs one year earlier. However, with even more growth in other states, Rhode Island’s national rank in per capita solar jobs dropped from #21 to #26 since last year’s report.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Rhode Island Takes Action to Reduce Climate-Altering Carbon Pollution

On January 13th, Rhode Island announced improvements to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a pioneering effort to clean up climate-altering carbon pollution from power plants. The changes to the program will reduce power plant pollution in the region by 15 percent with the decade.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Rhode Island

With Block Island Sound project, Rhode Island can be #2 in wind energy growth

At a Department of Environmental Management hearing in Narragansett, Environment Rhode Island joined organizations and concerned citizens to voice support for final steps in approving the planned Block Island Wind Farm. Environment Rhode Island testified in support of offshore wind in Rhode Island, calling on state leaders to give necessary approval for the proposed cable that would connect the planned offshore wind farm to the mainland electric grid.

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Report | Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

Wind Energy For A Cleaner America II

America has vast wind energy resources, and there is still plenty of room for growth. But the pending expiration of the federal renewable energy production tax credit and investment tax credit threatens the future expansion of wind power. To protect the environment, federal and state governments should continue and expand policies that support wind energy.

> Keep Reading

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